A proposed federal rule that would require black boxes or event data recorders (EDRs) in every U.S. automobile may mean “Big Brother” could be in your passenger seat for every drive.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rule requires all light passenger vehicles be equipped with an EDR by Sep.1, 2014. Ninety-six percent of new cars already have them — measuring such inputs as speed, lateral acceleration, pedal effort, seat belt use, wheel spin, steering wheel turn and direction.
They only record information in the brief period before and after a crash. But black box data retrieved from U.S. car accidents in a single day would provide more information than a year’s worth of crash testing, says Tom Kowalick, who heads the design team that is standardizing the devices for automakers worldwide.
But he also said he fears that for all their potential good, the EDRs present a massive privacy dilemma, and an opportunity for fraudsters.
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